Hello dear rose friends; how delightful is it to watch the roses pushing all their new growth and gearing up for spring which is just around the corner – it all happens sooooooo fast! 

Gearing up for spring can we suggest that because of very favourable moon cycles, from this Saturday through to next week is an ideal time for weeding the garden.  To test this theory, go out NOW and pull a weed – there will be resistance despite damp conditions, however, pull weeds in the same location on Saturday and you will find they literally fall out of the ground.

This is not madness – for generations farmers have cultivated and nurtured the land using these theories and if we were all really environmentally aware gardeners, so should we!


This cold weather inspires me to sit by the fire, read and do lots of research for sharing information with you, our Rose Rambler subscribers – there’s a lot of talk about impending drought – because roses are such DROUGHT TOUGH PLANTS, they are a great investment in your garden as they will live for years and years in the most extreme weather conditions!

Q.  What did one flea say to the other?  A. Should we walk or take the dog?

To grow strong, tough rose bushes, place compost around the base of the plants – don’t till the soil or disturb the roots then water over with seaweed solution to encourage soil microbes and worms to breed; mulch the compost with lucerne/pea straw – you’ll grow the strongest, most free-flowering roses which will endure whatever weather Mother Nature intends for this flowering season!

A friend suggested this handy tip the other day but since I don’t take any medications, I didn’t get it – maybe you do:  “Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night!”

Here’s a copy of an interview which was conducted for our local newspaper:

A PRICKLY SUBJECT … An interview with Diana Sargeant @ Silkies Rose Farm, Cnr. Spur and McDonalds Rd, Clonbinane – (by Cathy Soulsby and produced in ‘CLONBINANE COUNTRY’)

Q. At what age did you discover your passion for roses?
A. I met Graham Sargeant, an avid gardener, when I was 25.  Graham began his rose ‘journey’ growing miniature roses, and won the Miniature Rose Championship at the World Rose Convention, Sydney in 1996. From then on I was ‘hooked ‘, so to speak!

Q. How long have you lived in Mitchell Shire?
A. Since I was 9 years old.

Q. What is unique about your ‘ Rose ary’ ?
A. It is a truly sustainable business. No chemicals have been used here for 25 years.  All products sold on the premises are earth friendly, including the Tri Nature range of household/personal care products which we have sold for the last 10 years.  These are bio- degradable and grey water safe.
We offer a design consultancy service, are available to speak to groups, and do pruning and rose care demonstrations at the property.  The Rose Rambler newsletter goes out weekly to 3,000 email addresses.  We think Graham’s jokes are the drawcard, but their source is a closely guarded secret!
I have a radio spot in Melbourne on the 2nd Sunday of every month, on 3CR, 855 AM band, from 7.30 – 9.15 am.

Q. You published your book on organic rose management, ‘All About Roses’ last year. How is it selling?
A. Really well, it has received great reviews, and I have sold into the thousands.

Q. How many helpers do you employ?
A. Besides Graham and myself, we employ 2 casuals.

Q. Can it be a’ thorn in your side’ working with your partner?
A. No, not at all, we both have our jobs to do and work really well together. Over the years, all our children have worked in the business, as well as extended family members.

Q. What are the joys/pitfalls of a home based business?
A. No pitfalls, by reducing our opening hours, we now have a manageable lifestyle business, and literally have time to ‘smell the roses’!

Q. How does the year unfold?
A. Busy, busy, busy!  Winter sees dormant roses being posted all around Australia, but they are also posted year-round for the rest of the season.  From November onwards is flowering time, and we have bus groups visiting. We also attend 3 of the main flower shows in Melbourne and surrounds – October, at Melbourne Showgrounds, November at Werribee, State Rose Garden and April, Tesselaars at Silvan.

Q. Where does the name ‘Silkies Rose Farm” originate?
A. From our love of raising Silkie fowls – now Graham breeds Langshan fowls but we would not consider changing the name of the rose nursery .. giggle! (here is a pic of Graham’s prized cock birds looking at themselves in a mirror on the shed wall – handsome fellows indeed!)

Q. And lastly, do you always view the world through ‘rose coloured glasses’?
A. Absolutely!  We live in the best country in the world, and Clonbinane is our slice of heaven!!   Cheers!

ROSE IDENTIFICATION … we can easily identify a rose when you send photos similar to what Dan sent through this week … he had no idea of the name of the rose from which he had taken a cutting but said that it was a small pink flower with a fragrance, added these photos – without a single photo of the flower, it was very easy to identify the name of this most glorious rose – CECILE BRUNNER which is now out of stock until next season!

Hope you enjoy all the pleasures of winter gardening … cheers from Diana, Graham & Mooi

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